“In the square below,’ said the Happy Prince, ‘there stands a little match-girl. She has let her matches
fall in the gutter, and they are all spoiled. Her father will beat her if she does not bring home some
money, and she is crying. She has no shoes or stockings, and her little head is bare. Pluck out
my other eye, and give it to her, and her father will not beat her.’
‘I will stay with you one night longer,’ said the Swallow, ‘but I cannot pluck out your eye.
You would be quite blind then.’
‘Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow,’ said the Prince, ‘do as I command you.’
So he plucked out the Prince’s other eye, and darted down with it. He swooped past the match-girl,
and slipped the jewel into the palm of her hand. ‘What a lovely bit of glass,’ cried the little girl;
and she ran home, laughing.
Then the Swallow came back to the Prince. ‘You are blind now,’ he said, ‘so I will stay
with you always.”
“Who are you?” he said.
“I am the Happy Prince.”
“Why are you weeping then?” asked the swallow; “you have quite drenched me.”
“There is no Mystery so great as Misery.”
“I am afraid that she is a coquette, for she is always flirting with the wind.”
“There is no good talking to him,” said a Dragon-fly, who was sitting on the top of a large brown
bulrush; “no good at all, for he has gone away.”
“Well, that is his loss, not mine,” answered the Rocket. “I am not going to stop talking to him
merely because he pays no attention. I like hearing myself talk. It is one of my greatest pleasures.
I often have long conversations all by myself, and I am so clever that sometimes I don’t
understand a single word of what I am saying.”
“Then you should definitely lecture on Philosophy,” said the Dragon-fly.”
“Surely Love is a wonderful thing. It is more precious than emeralds, and dearer than fine opals.
Pearls and pomegranates cannot buy it, nor is it set forth in the marketplace. It may not be
purchased of the merchants, for can it be weighed out in the balance for gold.”
“Dear Prince, I must leave you, but I will never forget you, and next spring I will bring you
back two beautiful jewels in place of those you have given away. The ruby shall be redder
than a red rose, and the sapphire shall be as blue as the great sea.”
“Any place you love is the world to you.”
Oscar Wilde, The Happy Prince, 1888
Adapted by Orson Welles
Directed by Victor Young
Score – Bernard Herrmann
“If you’ve been getting smothered lately in record stores with scads of children’s’ albums by everybody from Artie Shaw through Ronald Colman by way of Gene Kelly, try this one on your small son. It’s the Oscar Wilde fairy tale with a Bernard Herrmann score, and in very much better taste than anything else being turned out for the Christmas rush.”
Down Beat mag